Historically, hemp could legally be grown and cultivated for academic research purposes only. However, the legality of hemp growth has changed in the past year. In April 2018, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky introduced the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, a piece of legislation that proposed legalizing all hemp products at the federal level. The act was incorporated in the 2018 United States Farm Bill, which passed in both the House and Senate in December 2018. Per the farm bill, industrial hemp will be descheduled as a federally controlled substance.
Since it started becoming popular roughly two years or so ago, the general consensus has always been that since CBD oil from top brands does not contain the psychoactive properties of THC, it is therefore legal. Unfortunately, its legality is much more nuanced because of conflicting federal laws and new court cases. What is clear is that in one of the most recent court decisions on the topic, Hemp Industries Assoc. v. DEA, which came out on April 30, 2018, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit found that Section 7606 of the 2014 US Farm Bill (the “Farm Bill”) preempts the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), the federal law which designates marijuana as a Schedule I substance (along with heroin and cocaine) making it illegal to possess or use. This means that when there is conflict between the CSA and the Farm Bill, the Farm Bill wins out.
CBD has been touted for a wide variety of health issues, but the strongest scientific evidence is for its effectiveness in treating some of the cruelest childhood epilepsy syndromes, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), which typically don’t respond to antiseizure medications. In numerous studies, CBD was able to reduce the number of seizures, and in some cases it was able to stop them altogether. Videos of the effects of CBD on these children and their seizures are readily available on the Internet for viewing, and they are quite striking. Recently the FDA approved the first ever cannabis-derived medicine for these conditions, Epidiolex, which contains CBD.
Rather, what most of these oils appear to be are extracts of the hemp seed. As we mentioned earlier, CBD oil can be made from either hemp or marijuana cannabis plants. No matter which plant they come from, however, they must be made using the flowers, leaves, stem and stalks of the plant, as these are the parts where the CBD compound is actually located.